WFP Executive Director Ends Nepal Visit, Calls For Urgently-Needed Relief Funds
KATHMANDU – The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, has concluded her visit to earthquake-affected regions of Nepal where she saw first-hand the achievements, and challenges, of the complex relief operation.
“We’ve achieved a lot already but we must do much more. That’s why we’re bringing in more trucks and helicopters and working together with more partners to get help where it’s needed – not just food, but shelter too. An operation of this scope and complexity requires more financial support to see this through,” Cousin said.
Just over a week after the quake hit, WFP is providing assistance to survivors in some of the hardest-hit areas of Nepal, including Dhading, Gorkha, Nuwakot, Rasuwa and Sindhupalchok districts. Enough food has been dispatched so far for 250,000 people, and more people will be assisted in coming days.
During the three-day visit, Cousin visited Gorkha district and witnessed first-hand the extent of the earthquake’s destruction.
“The coming monsoon season means that the clock is ticking. We must operate efficiently and expeditiously to help people who’ve lost everything. We can see that food isn’t the only need right now. People also need immediate shelter. That’s why we’re supporting our partners by also bringing in shelter items where we can,” she said.
Cousin met the WFP team running the Humanitarian Staging Area, a dispatch hub at the centre of the wider humanitarian relief effort. It was established in Kathmandu by WFP with the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) before the disaster struck.
“This hub ensures the humanitarian community’s ability to respond quickly. Before the earthquake hit, we were ready to begin operations,” she said.
Her visit follows an urgent appeal for US$116.5 million to provide food for 1.4 million people over the next three months. WFP, which is funded entirely by contributions from governments, companies and individuals, needs an additional US$34 million to provide common logistics and telecommunications services for the humanitarian community.
An online appeal has been launched at www.wfp.org/nepal
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